Here is everything you need to know about drying tomatoes in the oven!
The scorching summer sun can quickly turn luscious, red tomatoes into raisins. So instead of waiting for nature to take its course, why not dry them in the oven? It’s a simple process that yields great results with little effort.
Drying tomatoes in the oven is a great way to preserve them for later use. By following these simple steps, you can enjoy delicious oven-dried tomatoes all year round!
In this article, we will describe the steps involved in drying tomatoes in the oven. We’ll also provide tips on selecting the right tomatoes and storing your dried bounty.
Steps for Drying Tomatoes in the Oven
How to Select Your Tomatoes for Drying in the Oven
When it comes to drying tomatoes in the oven, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- You’ll want to select tomatoes that are ripe but not too ripe. If they’re too ripe, they’ll start to fall apart when you slice them. Choose tomatoes that are uniform in size so they dry at the same rate.
- Finally, it’s important to select tomatoes that have smooth skin and are free of blemishes. With these tips in mind, you’ll be sure to end up with delicious, dried tomatoes that are perfect for snacking or adding to recipes.
You know that ripeness is important, but there are many varieties of tomatoes, and not all of them are ideal for drying in the oven. Keep this in mind as you make your selections.
The best tomatoes for drying in the oven are:
- plum tomatoes,
- and oval or pear-shaped Italian tomatoes.
You can almost always find at least one of these at your local supermarket or grocery store in case you aren’t growing tomatoes at home.
Make sure they are slightly firm and without blemishes.
Selecting the perfect tomatoes is only half the battle. Once you have your tomatoes, you’ll need to prepare them for drying.
How to Prepare Your Tomatoes for Drying
As with most recipes, starting with good ingredients will make your final product that much better, but good preparation is also crucial for success.
Here are a few tips to help you prepare your tomatoes for drying in the oven:
- Slice your tomatoes in half lengthwise. This will help them dry evenly and allow you to add your own special touch, which we will get to later on. It’s important to slice them lengthwise so that you don’t end up with overly juicy and mushy tomatoes when it’s all finished.
- Once you have sliced them lengthwise, remove the core. Make a v-shaped cut to remove the hard core. Don’t skip this step! That core will only get tougher as they dry, making the final product tough and unpleasant to eat.
- Use a small spoon to remove the tomato’s pulp, including the seeds. It may seem like you are losing a lot of flavor by removing the pulp, but doing so will speed up the process greatly in the long run. You can skip this step if you don’t mind the seeds:)
- While you are scooping out the pulp, it’s important to try to leave the tomato halves intact as much as possible. Tomatoes are very delicate, and the more you handle them while they are open, the more juices you end up losing from the tomato flesh, and these juices are important for flavor!
- Once you have removed the tomato pulp, take your tomato halves and add them to a large bowl. Gently toss and season to taste with salt.
Small Tip: Whether drying tomatoes in the oven, slicing them for your sandwiches, or dicing them for salads, always season your tomatoes with salt and pepper. Your taste buds will thank you!
How to Dry Tomatoes in the Oven
Start by removing all of the racks from your oven except for one on the lowest rack space.
- Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit (about 93 degrees Celsius) or the lowest setting.
- Line each drying rack with tomatoes cut-side facing up.
- Use slotted trays or cake racks so you get better air circulation. You can dry your tomatoes on baking trays or cookie sheets with no slots; just keep in mind that the tomatoes won’t dehydrate evenly.
- If you are using 2 or more trays, rotate the trays every couple of hours so the tomatoes will dry evenly. Check the tomatoes regularly to see if they’re done.
- Dry for 4–6 hours, or until dry but still fleshy.
How to Store Dried Tomatoes
To store your oven-dried tomatoes, simply add them to a jar and cover them with olive oil. Keep them stored in the refrigerator and they will last for up to two months!
The Benefits of Drying Tomatoes in the Oven
The process of drying concentrates the natural sugars in the fruit, resulting in a sweeter, more intensely flavored tomato. Additionally, drying tomatoes in the oven is a great way to extend their shelf life.
Dried tomatoes will last for months when stored in an airtight container, making them a perfect ingredient to have on hand for winter cooking. And unlike sun-dried tomatoes, which can be quite pricey, oven-drying is a relatively inexpensive way to enjoy this delicious treat. So if you’re looking for a new way to enjoy your tomatoes, be sure to give oven-drying a try.